MD-PhD Programs in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Humanities

Program Overview

The program in Medicine, the Social Sciences and Humanities (MeSH) at the University of Chicago trains medical students to become innovative physician-scholars at the critical interface of medicine and society. The MeSH program is an opportunity for students interested in obtaining an MD and a PhD in a field outside of the traditional biological and physical sciences. Former students have pursued their PhDs in such wide ranging fields as anthropology, economics, public policy and philosophy. Started in 1985, MeSH is one of the only programs of its kind in the country.

MeSH students typically begin their studies in graduate school for the first two years and then complete three years of medical school before returning to graduate school to complete PhD training. After completing the PhD, students return to medical school to finish their medical training. This sequence allows MeSH students to complete their graduate training efficiently while minimizing long breaks in their medical training.

Get to know our current MeSH students and notable alumni here. 

Center for Health and Social Sciences (CHeSS)

After gaining admission, incoming MeSH students are integrated into the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), where they receive administrative support, access to interdisciplinary workshops and courses, and mentorship.  Consisting of 3-4 faculty members from across the University, mentorship teams provide ongoing support and advisement to MeSH students as they progress through both medical school and their respective PhD programs. The core MeSH faculty, a cadre of institutionally and nationally prominent investigators, represent a wide range of federally and privately funded collaborative projects. They also provide MeSH students unique opportunities to participate in very cohesive, interactive health services research and social science groups throughout campus. 


Some students in the MeSH Program receive tuition and stipend support for their medical training at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Students may receive funding support through the University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), while others may receive funding through a National Institute on Aging (NIA) training grant. Tuition and stipend support for graduate training come from the student’s PhD program. 

MD-PhD Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Aging National Track

The MD-PhD Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Aging National Track offers the opportunity for students enrolled in any U.S. medical school to earn a PhD from a social science program at the University of Chicago. For more information about the  National Track and how to apply, please visit the program website.